is your life. There will be no other. Life, a steep-roofed house where you live, a soft dirt bed where you sleep, shoes you walk miles in, time wearing the heels down until there were never shoes at all.


You were invited to this world to make a meal of time, a soup of everything, to move through time like falling backward into an ocean, like bringing warm tea up to your lips.


If time is an oyster, a mollusk, you are spiraling in in in in toward the center. To the muscled heart of it, valves swooshing; to the kernel, germ, nut of it, to burrow and extract.

Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, writer, and translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her recent books include the poetry collection America that island off the coast of France, winner of the Dorset Prize, and the short story collection Underground Women.